When you need to choose an English course, you have many choices to make. Should I study once a week or every day? What sort of English should I learn? Should I study alone or with other people? You probably feel quite overwhelmed by all these options, so let’s look together at one of the most important choices – what class size works the best? Read on to find out more.
Today you can find English courses that are made for all kinds of sizes, from classes of 100+ students at some universities, to medium sized classes of 15 people at several language schools, to classes just for individuals. So how do they compare and what can we learn from our own experience?
The Problem with Big Groups
Many of us have had the experience of language learning at school where we were one of 25-30 students. How well did it work for you? I know I didn’t learn that much because we focused on grammar and exercises, and it’s a pity that this opportunity was lost. Maybe you’ve done a group course as an adult where you were with 10-15 people. Perhaps that was more successful, but you probably missed one or two lessons because you couldn’t make it on that fixed day and time. Or you were perhaps stronger or weaker than many of your classmates and either got bored or confused.
The Pros and Cons of Learning Alone
For some people, the answer to this problem is to have individual lessons with a private tutor. Studying alone definitely means you get a lot of talking time but it’s certainly very intense and expensive. Above all it’s much less fun than studying with others, especially if you’re a beginner. Some people also try learning a language on an app, playing some games and doing exercises. This can be fun for a while, but it’s very hard to keep motivated. Moreover, how can you be sure you’ve understood and can produce the new language correctly?
So, what is the ideal solution?
The best way to study English is in a small group of 3-4 people. Let’s have a look at the advantages:
It’s fun and interesting
Your teacher has plenty of time to focus on your needs
Your classmates can support and motivate you
You learn from each other’s mistakes
You can celebrate each other’s moments of success
Being in a small class gives you the best of both worlds. You haven’t got the intensity or stress of being alone, but you still have plenty of talking time during the lesson. And having the chance to listen to your classmates is fundamental because you can learn from them when they speak correctly as well as when they make mistakes. Being in a small group gives you the chance to do a wide range of communicative activities like role-plays, surveys, debates, and games.
In order for small classes to work, you want to find a course that gives you flexibility in your study times and the assurance of studying with people of exactly the same level as you. Find out more about a course that can offer you these characteristics.